When The CEO Gets Sick

I read the news about Steve Jobs this morning. My first thought was I hope that he’s going to be OK. Though cancer is never good news, it is slowly being transformed into a disease that can be managed and the idea of “living with cancer” is becoming a reality. And it appears that Steve has a rare, but curable, form of pancreatic cancer. That’s great news.

My next thought was, “shit we own Apple stock.” The stock’s not going up on this news. And in this case, it’s surely going down. Like it or not, Steve Jobs is the brains behind Apple and no big decisions are made in the Company without him. The idea of Apple without Steve is unthinkable.

And what about the way this news got out? According to the Wall Street Journal, the fist word of this was an email from Steve to the employees. That’s fine, but what about a press release for the shareholders at the same time?

I’ve been through a situation when a CEO gets sick a couple times. It’s always difficult. The CEO is facing life and death decisions and the business issues are initially secondary to the CEO and the family. But procrastinating on these issues is always a bad idea.

I like the fact that both Apple and Pixar have put Tim Cook and Ed Catmull, respectively, in charge until Steve gets back. That’s the way it should be.

Maybe it won’t be so bad being an Apple shareholder after all. And I sure hope Steve has a full recovery.